THE RETURN OF
SETTING THE RECORD
DR. MALACHI Z
Dr. Malachi Z. York
Religious Sect Faces
116 New Counts
11 Alive/May 14, 2002
A state case is now unfolding against the leader of a Putnam
County religious sect and three of his followers, who in total
face 116 counts of child molestation, authorities said.
Fifty-six-year-old Dwight York, the leader of the United
Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, is named in a state indictment handed
down Monday against himself and three other Nuwaubians.
Chaundra Lampkin faces three counts of child molestation and two
counts of aggravated child molestation. Kadijah Merritt faces
three counts of child molestation and two counts of aggravated
Esther Cole faces one count of child molestation, officials
All four are expected to appear in court soon on the state
York, Wife Await Bond Decision
York and 33-year-old Kathy Johnson, one of his wives, appeared
in a federal court Tuesday in Macon, Ga., for the second day of
their bond hearing.
Federal agents arrested York and Johnson on May 8, and charged
them with trafficking a minor across state lines for sex. An
indictment handed down earlier that day accused the couple of
taking teens from Sullivan County, New York, to Putnam County,
Ga., and from Georgia to Orlando, Fla., in order to engage in
illegal sexual acts.
On Monday, the first day of the bond hearing, special FBI agent
Jalaine Ward spoke in graphic detail about York and Johnson's
alleged assaults on the children of the sect's followers.
Ward said the incidents started in March 1993 in New York, and
continued in Georgia after York moved his followers to the state
during that same year.
York, who told his followers to refer to him as their god, and
Johnson have had older children help them molest the younger
children, Ward said.
Defense: York, Johnson 'Absolutely Innocent'
Speaking about both York and Johnson, defense attorney Ed
Garland said they are "complete, totally and absolutely innocent
of these charges."
"Our position will be clearly that a bond is appropriate, that
there is no danger to the community, that in fact the reverend
is a valued and important part of the community," Garland said.
York also faces three counts of traveling in order to have sex
with a minor in Orlando. Each count carries a maximum penalty of
not more than 15 years in jail, and not more than a $250,000
In addition to the federal charges, York and Johnson also face
at least ten counts of aggravated child molestation at the state
Judge order York
Macon Telegraph/July 15, 2003
By Rob Peecher
A judge issued an order Monday requiring confessed child
molester Malachi York to undergo a psychological evaluation at a
federal facility, U.S. Attorney Max Wood confirmed.
The evaluation likely will delay the start of York's trial,
tentatively set for early next month, said Wood.
"I can't imagine us being ready for trial - getting (the
psychological examination) completed by Aug. 4," he said.
U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson's order had not been filed
Monday in the U.S. District Courthouse in Macon. Wood said he
was aware of the order but had not seen it.
York's attorney, Manny Arora, also had not seen the order late
Monday afternoon. He said the defense had asked for an
evaluation to determine York's competency to understand the
process of his federal criminal case.
"This is not an insanity issue - this is simply to make sure he
understands the proceedings," Arora said. "The trial cannot go
forward until he is deemed to be competent."
York pleaded guilty in January to 77 state counts dealing almost
entirely with child sex abuse charges and two federal counts
involving taking children across state lines for the purpose of
having sex with them and avoiding federal financial reporting
York has not withdrawn his guilty pleas in either the state or
federal charges, but Lawson rejected the 15-year prison sentence
agreed to during plea negotiations between the U.S. Attorney's
Office and York's lawyers.
Lawson said if York follows through with the guilty plea, he
likely will be sentenced to serve 20 years in prison, rather
Lawson also told both sides to be ready for trial Aug. 4 in the
event that York withdraws his plea.
York's attorneys have reported to the judge that he has been
uncooperative with them, and during a hearing in June, York told
the judge he was a sovereign American Indians, not subject to
the federal laws. York demanded that he be turned over to his
"tribe" for trial.
"I think he's hanging his hat on something that, unfortunately -
as the judge asked us - doesn't have any legal basis," Arora
Arora noted that federal law does provide special considerations
for American Indians in some civil law, but American Indians are
still subject to criminal law. Also, York appears to be relying
on a forged document purporting to be signed by Gov. Sonny
Perdue as proof that he is an American Indian.
Arora said York was initially uncooperative when a
court-appointed psychologist attempted to interview him July 4,
but did cooperate during a second interview July 7. He said he
has not received the results of that interview.
Wood declined to comment on York's competency.
York, the leader of the cult-like group, the United Nuwaubian
Nation of Moors, moved from New York to a 476-acre farm in
Putnam County in 1993. Just prior to that move, York and his
followers were living on a camp in the Catskill Mountains where
they had erected at least one tepee and were claiming American
York, at the time, referred to himself as Chief Black Eagle, and
followers still loyal to him recently have reverted back to that
name. During two recent hearings in Macon, Nuwaubians have
attended wearing American Indian-style clothing and beaded
headdresses with feathers.
Since coming to Putnam County, though, the group has claimed
ancestry from ancient Egyptians. The group also has claimed to
be Muslim, Jewish and Christian. York claimed to be from another
planet and has told his followers he is an angel. The group also
has claimed to be affiliated with Freemasons.
In 1998, Putnam County and the Nuwaubians began a public court
battle, mostly over zoning violations, that lasted until just
before York's arrest by federal and local authorities in May
Late Monday, York was still being held in the Jones County Jail.
It was unclear what federal facility he will be sent to. Arora
guessed the evaluation will last 30 to 45 days.